Microsoft supports Linux desktop

Microsoft supports Linux desktop

Summary: When Microsoft released Skype for Linux, it finally started supporting Linux desktop applications. Can Office for Linux be next!!?

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With Skype 4 for Linux, Microsoft has its first Linux desktop application.

With Skype 4 for Linux, Microsoft has its first Linux desktop application.

No, that's not my prediction for Microsoft's mysterious Monday announcement. No, it's what Microsoft is already doing with last week's unexpected release of Skype 4 for Linux. Microsoft--Microsoft!--of all companies has just shipped its first mass-market, end-user Linux desktop program.

It really wasn't surprising that Microsoft saw the light of Linux on servers when they started supporting major Linux distributions -- CentOS, openSUSE, SUSE Linux, and Ubuntu -- on Windows Azure. Ballmer and the rest of Microsoft's brass may not like it one darn bit, but they know that people want Linux servers on the cloud so they had to give it to them.

In fact, Microsoft itself is using Linux for its services. Ironically enough, Microsoft has moved Skype from its peer-to-peer (P2P) architecture to one built around... wait for it: Linux servers.

Earlier this year, Immunity Security's senior security researcher Kostya Kortchinsky discovered that Microsoft had replaced Skype's network of "supernodes" Skype user PCs with sufficient bandwidth, processing horsepower, and system resources to handle Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) calls and traffic control with 10,000 Microsoft/Skype hosted supernodes. According to Kortchinsky, and later tacitly confirmed by Microsoft, these new Skype servers are running Linux with grsecurity, server patches.

The desktop is another story though. While I use the Linux desktop, Linux Mint 13 for the most part, every day, I know there aren't that many of us. Even now, hardware vendors like Nvidia don't give Linux anything like enough support and if you want to buy a laptop or desktop with Linux pre-installed you need to look to small vendors such as System76 and ZaReason.

Despite that though Microsoft is finally offering a desktop program for Linux. If you consider Microsoft's long bitter history with Linux, that's amazing. There's only one reason why they'd do it: They think that they can make money from it.

So, perhaps the Linux desktop is indeed bigger than the 1% of the market it's usually given. Indeed, it appears that the Linux desktop has been growing over the last year.

Will Linux on the desktop ever threaten to catch up with Windows on the desktop? Nah. But, it does seem that Microsoft, for the first time ever, thinks there's enough Linux desktop users out there that they're worth supporting. Who would have thought it? Can Microsoft Office for Linux be far behind!!?

Related Stories:

Microsoft unexpectedly ships a new version of Skype for Linux

Linus Torvalds F-bombs Nvidia over lack of Linux support

Skype jumps the shark: Seven alternative VoIP services

Ubuntu, CentOS, & SUSE Linux comes to Windows Azure

Is the Linux Desktop actually growing?

Topics: Software, Collaboration, Hardware, Linux, Microsoft, Open Source, Operating Systems, Social Enterprise

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48 comments
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  • Microsoft supports Linux desktop

    No, On the Microsoft Office for Linux Desktop.
    daikon
    • thats too much to ask

      and then you will also want it free, cmmon they need to pay their employees as they are not free
      ninjacut
      • There are proprietary apps for Linux

        People even buy them.
        John L. Ries
  • Microsoft supports Linux desktop

    LOL I had to laugh when I read this. Your twisted hatred of Microsoft has really skewered your thinking. Yes, Microsoft did release Skype for linux. Everyone said they would continue supporting Skype on linux for a while, well everyone except you. You are the one who was acting like a big angry gorilla pounding your chest yelling "Microsoft bad!" LOL I laugh just thinking about it. Anyways the code was probably complete and in testing when Microsoft bought Skype so there was no reason for them not to release it. But there is the downside and that is with linux desktop being dead (per your own words) don't expect much more support. I see this release as being a transitional move. People who were stuck or forced to use linux can now easily move to Skype on Microsoft Windows. Its all about the migration.
    Loverock Davidson-
    • 63% of the server world runs Unix/Linux

      So what do you have to say to that?
      Pete&Pete
      • Nah

        They barely make that number on web server front, where they historically have a major share.
        sjaak327
      • 60% of smartphones - Linux, 30-35% of tablets - Linux ...

        There will be more than 400 million new Linux tablets and smartphones in 2012. M$ will sell hardly even 250 million Windows licenses during this year. We don't know the figures of Windows pirates but surely we will never know how many new pc's with Linux will be installed also.

        One thing is quite sure: Linux is now the world's NUMBER ONE platform of new non-mobile and mobile devices. What's amazing is that editors and advocates of most of IT-media don't know and don't understand this change.
        Matsi66
      • What's your point?

        And that has to do with...what?
        bmonsterman
    • LOL

      Lovelace: You always crack me up. I'm sure a lot of your comments are just for kicks!
      tora201
    • No one is "stuck" or "forced" to use Linux

      The small user base that Linux has mostly consists of users who WANT to use Linux because they find it better, cheaper, or for whatever other reasons, which I doubt includes "cause they're stuck with it".

      On the other hand, millions of people on Windows have never even heard of alternative options or their employer uses it so they're "stuck" with it at work. And since that's the only thing they ever learned to use, they think it's easier to have the same OS at home as well.

      I know SVJN's stuff comes off as MS bashing in many ways -- even in ways that I as an ardent Linux fan would never do it. Saying Linux desktop is dead is just as ignorant as saying Linux will be the dominant desktop in the world in the next few years.

      And you saying some linux users are stuck with it and need help or encouragement to move on to Windows falls in exactly the same category of comments.

      NO one can predict the future -- you have your reasons for liking Windows, and the we other 20 million plus Ubuntu users have ours for sticking with (not getting stuck with) Linux.
      kushalsharma83
  • I wouldn't use that as a metric as to the percentage

    of Linux on the desktop in any way.

    I'll agree with the stats that show it at 1%.

    But for MS [i]continuing[/i] to make a Linux version of Skype is no big deal - they have the all the code, all the designers, everything, so why not?

    It's not like it's really costing them anything extra, or having to go a new direction from scratch. And that little money just adds to the bottom line of the purchase (and all this after you warned us that Skype for Linux was dead after the sale).

    But MS Office for Linux? You [b]have[/b] to be joking - how much money would they need to spend to create a Linux version, and how much money would they actually make back, considering how much they could charge for the software itself, and the 1% userbase that swears it will never go MS Office, as Libre and Open Office are more then adaquate?
    William Farrel
    • MS Office for Linux could be a game changer for many parties

      This comment is based on the understanding that a very large number of people need to be on Windows only because they need MS Office. I think that's a fair assessment judging by how large a cash cow MS Office is for Microsoft, but admittedly I don't have any sources to back it up.

      1. OEMs wouldn't have to install Windows. Instead, they could purchase MS Office licenses and send machine preinstalled with Linux for those who care more about MS Office than they do about Windows.

      2. A LOT many organizations would be able to save a TON of money if they didn't have to purchase both MS Windows AND MS Office; they could just buy MS Office and leave Windows out of the equation.

      3. MANY Linux users who presently bitch about MS Office might be doing it because of the fact that they can't have it. (I personally think LibreOffice is better than MS Office in many ways except the presets and fancy effects MS Office allows you to put in files and shapes). If that was an option, many of these users would buy it -- especially with student discounts, employer discounts, etc. I'm basing this on the fact that Linux gaming has been proving that linux users can spend a serious amount of money (the recent Humble Indie bundle exploded on Linux and made millions in record time after launch)

      So, for Microsoft, none of these reasons are particularly appealing. Especially when they presently have a perfect ecosystem of lockdown with their OS. On the other hand, if they're happy to support Mac despite some of the same effect as above already occurring for that platform, if MS sees the potential of increased revenue from it, I don't see why they would shy away.
      kushalsharma83
  • Linux Desktop

    "So, perhaps the Linux desktop is indeed bigger than the 1% of the market it???s usually given. "

    MS has, in the past, claimed that the size of Linux usage was nearly the same as Mac. If so then it is in their interest to support the market.
    wizofvoz@...
  • too small a market

    and a market used to slight differences so openoffice/libre office would be a better price (or at least one hard to beat)
    Net-Tech_z
  • Can Office for Linux be next!!?

    Possibly, if one's Linux is Android. I'm quite sure that GNU/Linux will never see Microsoft Office ported.

    P.S. Skype supported the Linux desktop long before they were acquired by Microsoft. Skype 4 was merely [u]upgraded[/u] from a prior version.
    Rabid Howler Monkey
  • skype is a useful tool.

    i'm pretty sure there will be a skype for the mac's too. skype is an interesting tool that homeland security can tap into and see and hear what is transpiring.

    i'm also pretty sure there will never be a msoffice for linux because linux users will not buy it.
    databaseben
    • Office for Linux...

      "i'm also pretty sure there will never be a msoffice for linux because linux users will not buy it. "

      Current Linux users who don't really need office - you're probably right. There may be a number of people using Office under Windows right now, who would switch to Linux and use office there if it were available.

      The rub here is that, in Microsoft's opinion, such a user would be no net gain for Office, and would be a net loss for Windows, so the extra cost of porting Office to Linux wouldn't be justified by the revenue.

      Now on Android, there's a different story - I would wager that a very large subset of Android users would use Office if it were available. It would be pretty naive to think Microsoft isn't at least testing the waters internally with Android/iOS Office applications in the event that Windows RT fails to get off the ground.
      daftkey
    • I will buy MS Office for Linux if it exists

      Providing that the price is reasonable, I WILL buy it. Although I can live with Libre Office, my wife needs MS Office. This will be simpler than running Office within a VM as she is doing currently. Some said that it is possible to install Office 2007 using Wine. I will try that to find out.
      RelaxWalk
      • There's a market out there

        ...so why wouldn't Monkey Boy tap it?
        james.vandamme
      • 90% of people don't need MS Office...

        ...just like 90% don't need Windows. Clever people should move to Linux and FLOSS. You don't have to pay single cent for software in world of 2012. Computing is very cheap and nice when one uses Linux and free software. Let Microsoft stay in 1990's.
        Matsi66